Smart glasses have many enterprises and commercial uses such as warehousing, remote support, manufacturing, navigation, entertainment, gaming, and learning. The possibilities for this technology are constantly growing and evolving with the changing demands of industry and situations such as COVID-19 that push innovation technologies faster than we could imagine.
One of the main advantages of smart glasses is allowing the user to move and perform without interruptions, while enhancing their performance through remote assistance, for example. The features and functions of smart glasses are constantly evolving, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that many industries are using smart glasses to work more efficiently.
In this new digital era, wearable technology represents the next stage of development – devices go along seamlessly, and using them is easy hands-free, easily portable. The aim is to provide assistance without disturbing the workflow.
“Smart glasses” refer to a device that brings with suitable technology a computer screen/display in front of a person’s eyes in order to assist with relevant data and information. Simply put, smart glasses are an attempt to bring the wireless connectivity and imaging we enjoy on computers and cellphones into the frames and lenses of our eyewear.
Smart Glasses in Healthcare
Even before the COVID-19 lockdown, one of the biggest challenges facing thousands of medical device specialists was the need to cover a broad market area and not being able to attend as many hospital-based procedures given the travel time taken – limiting their ability to do their jobs.
Imagine you have to travel to Aberdeen while based in Bristol? Or you need to travel to Iceland or the north of Norway? Many global locations are underserved due to their remoteness, limited transportation links, and overall travel costs.
With a single trip potentially costing up to €1500 (and that’s in a normal situation), you can understand why medical device businesses and reps are selective about who they serve – often choosing more extensive, urban hospitals as naturally there will be more surgeons and physicians operating these – meaning many remote hospitals will often lose out.
Could Smart Glasses Solve The Current Doctor Shortages in Europe?
As the world gears up for phase two of COVID-19, hospitals seem to be better prepared than back in April with enough masks and gowns to go around.
But, with the virus spreading faster than the first outbreak in spring, hospitals now need to line up enough healthcare professionals to tackle the second wave.
Recently, in Belgium doctors and nurses were asked to keep working even after testing positive as there´s such a shortage – putting more patients and doctors at further risk. And just last week, Spanish doctors have also staged their first nationwide walkout in 25 years over working conditions which saw 85% of the country’s 267,000 doctors take part.
With so many doctors and nurses becoming ill themselves and having to either self-quarantine or continue working, the big questions are how will hospitals cope and where will they have access to medical professionals?
Helping Bridge The Gaps
Policy-makers worldwide struggle to achieve health equality and bridge the health needs of their populations – especially in vulnerable and disadvantaged areas.
One of their most complex challenges is ensuring people living in rural and remote locations have access to trained health workers – from surgeons to GPs right through to medical device specialists.
It’s a global problem that affects almost all countries. As the World Health Organisation (WHO) points out, one-half of the global population lives in rural areas, but of this, only 24% of the total physicians’ workforce and 38% of the total nurses’ workforce serve these areas.
But innovators across the world continue to create game-changing solutions that not only help alleviate these issues but make sense economically too.
One of the main focuses for Rods&Cones smart glasses solution is to break barriers and offer better healthcare assistance no matter the patient’s location.
Rods&Cones Smart Glasses Solution
Here at Rods&Cones, our Smart Surgery Assistance glasses allow surgeons, medical device specialists, and other experts to work together remotely – before, during, and after surgical procedures.
The glasses also enable surgeons in acute care scenarios to share information and their own perspective in high definition with medical device specialists – without pausing their work or needing to hold a device. The glasses have also helped support surgeons during emergency procedures by dialing in additional experts when required.
As a result, medical device reps can now access any hospital, anytime, from any place to provide their expertise – without leaving home. The glasses are easy to use, with no huge learning curve for the surgeons wearing them – no tutorials needed. As long as the initial setup aspect and briefing are carried out, it’s just a case of wearing them and providing access to others via QR codes.
A recent study has shown that when carers receive training via immersive digital technology, they can improve their knowledge retention of health and safety guidelines by 230%.
As more government and healthcare leaders search for the most equitable, feasible, and sustainable solutions to improve access to professional expertise, they may well have a long-term cost-effective solution at hand in smart glasses.
Real-Time Smart Glasses For The OR – Without The Security Concerns
Security breaches all over the world have been rampant this year, especially with around 91% of businesses reporting an increase in cyber attacks since COVID-19 struck.
In healthcare, given the nature of held information – everything from sensitive personal data from patients’ medical records through to large financial data – the level of severity makes each breach considerably more serious than most.
There’s a continual need for proper cybersecurity in this sector – but innovation’s needed too. Therefore, any new innovation introduced needs to prioritize this too: which is exactly what we’re doing here at Rods&Cones with our Smart Surgery Assistance Glasses.
Many hospitals across the globe have vigorous data security regulations in order to stop cybercrime. And while these systems are secure, they’re not watertight.
But to keep pace with innovation to improve patient outcomes, many hospitals are exploring the use of technology such as smart glasses to enable remote monitoring during live operating room (OR) procedures.
However, IT managers remain very cautious around the security aspect of devices like thee. The EDPS, (European Data Protection Supervisor) claims that one of the main concerns surrounding smart glasses is their capacity to record video and audio in “a discreet way that the people being recorded are not aware of it”.
We have seen these concerns raised with other connected devices – such as with smart homes technology where devices have been known to record and profile residents’ utilities consumption – with no transparent privacy notices in place.
Applied to healthcare, these concerns are even more valid. However, the technology we offer at Rods&Cones has security front-of-mind.
Smart With Data Encryption
Our Surgery Assistance Smart Glasses solution is fully encrypted and no data is stored whatsoever. No images, audio, or video. It’s a live stream only – so completely GDPR- and HIPAA-compliant.
In fact, it’s the digital equivalent of someone physically walking into the OR to offer advice. The easy-wear, high-tech smart glasses are equipped with two individual cameras, microphones, and a powerful optical zoom lens – which can be operated by the remote assistant; giving an unrestricted, close-up view of each surgery’s progress and real-time feedback.
The smart glasses feature a QR code scanner which enables surgeons to ‘dial-in’ colleagues and or industry experts, simply by looking at the right code. The smart glasses are also guaranteed to have enough battery capacity to last for up to 8 hours – meaning they can last for an entire hospital shift.
Rods&Cones can offer a detailed briefing for IT departments on the technical requirements needed. A best-case scenario would be to have a dedicated bandwidth on the network – which can fluctuate, but by collaborating with each hospital everyone can have peace of mind that a smart glasses solution can be implemented without incident or compromising data or safety.
Also, every device has a 4G fallback connection mode, so even if the connection fails there’s no loss of coverage at all.
Better Patient Outcomes
It’s fair to say, patients in COVID-19 wards must feel scared, confused, and lonely – with a sense of humanity lost.
That’s why healthcare professionals must maintain their compassion during these difficult times. But with so much going on around them, having the right tools at their disposal is a must.
By using smart glasses, healthcare professionals are now able to interact with patients on a personal level – bringing that compassion and reassurance back to the hospital wards, right when and where it’s needed most.